Two-time Group One winner Grunt (O'Reilly x Ruqqaya) has been one of the early nominations for Victoria's $A5million All-Star Mile.
Should the Mick Price-trained galloper secure a spot in the final field, it will be a return to his favoured Flemington track where he won the Australian Guineas and Makybe Diva Stakes, both over the All Star Mile distance.
The four-year-old becomes the third Group One winner – after Happy Clapper and Foundry – to be entered for the All-Star Mile on March 16.
Grunt is currently a best-priced $21 with Sportsbet in early markets for the inaugural runing of the race.
“The All-Star Mile is tailor-made for him,” Price said.
“His record over a mile at Flemington is outstanding, so there was never any doubt that we would be entering him for the race.
"Obviously the prizemoney is very attractive, but I also think it’s a great concept so I’m all for it. It’s important to have innovation in racing, new races like this are exactly what we need so the think tank behind the concept should be congratulated.
“It’s difficult to predict how it will play out in the first year, but I’m hopeful he’ll win enough votes to get into the race.
"He has the right profile and form lines, so if people are being objective rather than subjective and voting for the horse they think can win the race, then I’d like to think he’d be pretty close to the top of the list.
"Or maybe we’ll just have to start a campaign that if you vote for Grunt, you can come to the stable and give him a pat.”
Grunt has been joined in the nominations list by WA raider Material Man, who won the 2018 Perth Cup and was placed at Group One level in his last two starts.
Nominations for the All-Star Mile will close on January 15 with the A$500 nomination fee being donated to charity.
Public voting will be open from January 21 to February 18, with the top 10 vote-getters that provisionally accept their places in The All-Star Mile due to be revealed on February 21.
The four wildcards, which can be selected by Racing Victoria (RV) from outside the original nominations, will then be announced on or before March 4.
The All-Star Mile is a joint initiative between RV and Victoria’s three metropolitan clubs, the Victoria Racing Club (VRC), Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) and Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC).
The race will be rotated annually across three racetracks, with Caulfield set to host the race in 2020 and The Valley in 2021-racing.com